HOW TO BECOME A NEWS ANCHOR
So you have aspirations to anchor the news and you're needing to know the steps to get there, or you're already a news reporter and you want to know how to get promoted to the anchor desk. Well you're researching and doing your due diligence so you're already one step closer to the information you're seeking to become a television news anchor!
Being a news anchor while it may seem glamorous and easy is actually a huge responsibility. Anchoring the news is way more than just reading off of a teleprompter. Being a broadcast journalist is about providing important information to the public in a way that is accurate, efficient, and easy to understand. On top of the journalism fundamentals, it's just as important to have integrity which is basically doing the right thing when no one is watching. If you're a journalist who understands these responsibilities and are still passionate about delivering the news then let's keep moving.
It is possible to land an anchor job at any stage of your career with hard work and the right background. - Amanda Porter
As a former news anchor/producer/reporter myself, I know first hand what it takes to get to the anchor desk and quickly. My name is Amanda Porter and I'm going to share a portion of my journalism career journey that through faith, passion, prayer and hard work how I was blessed with a news anchoring position fresh out of college at 22 years-old! Also as a first-generation college student, I know for a fact that a person can do anything they set their mind to do.
Now let's get started on achieving your anchoring goal. Here are my steps to "Becoming a News Anchor."
Building a reel
Sending out applications
The first step to being able to anchor the news is having a bachelors degree. Four year universities are common and there are schools that have programs specifically for training students for broadcast journalism jobs. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and took journalism classes that allowed me to learn to report and anchor on a student run newscast. I also took a journalism class that taught television production of a newscast and that greatly gave me a leg up in my career. A bachelors degree in journalism, communications, english, or any other related field is expected when applying for most on-air jobs.
Secondly, while in undergrad it's worth it to look for internships at local news stations, or even at your college. News internships can either be paid or unpaid, so look for an opportunity that fits your needs. Keep in mind that the field of broadcast journalism can be an expensive journey to pursue and starting out the pay is not always the highest you may have come across. Be prepared to work internships for experience and this is needed because you want to make sure that this is the career you want to be doing. News internships often expose you to so many parts of a news station and the possible careers opportunities. You can really get a feel of where you see yourself and most importantly how a newsroom functions.
Thirdly, landing an internship at a news station will make it easier to record an "anchor reel." A "reel" in journalism is a video collection of news stories compiled together that is sent with applications for a news position. A journalist who is aiming for the anchor desk should have video of anchoring on their reel. This is why it's important to work an internship at a local news station. While there, ask if it's possible to record some of what you're doing for your resume reel. Most news stations, reporters, and anchors are very accommodating. Try to get as many stories as you can for your reel and choose only the best of your work. The anchor/reporter reel should be digital and be able to be easily accessed with a link. When you're ready to apply send the link of the reel on the news application.
Next step is sending out applications. This is a process because there are only a certain amount of on air positions open and those positions have requirements. Apply for anchor and or reporter positions in television markets that hire talent at the start of there careers, or wherever you feel comfortable. Landing a job in television, let along as a news anchor can take time so get creative. Most journalist put their reel on Youtube which is how some news directors search for new on air talent. Send out as many applications as you'd like for positions you want. The more applications for send out the more chances you have for a call from a news director.
Once a news director reaches out and makes contact you are officially in the interview process. Anchoring is a very public position so having poise and grace are a requirement. Be ready to be watched closely and interviewed by multiple people. Most interviews start with email then go to phone and possibly in person at the station. There are ways to prepare for a news anchor interview such as knowing about top news stories the interviewing station is working on, having knowledge of national news, and a background on the position you're applying for are great ways to be ready.
If an offer and contract is presented to you by a news director, then you are likely to be moving to a new job and a new state. The whole interview process can be long and grueling, but it is so worth it when you are finally offered a position.
Here are some key factors to determine if you're likely to be considered for a news anchor position.
As a broadcast journalist you'll be doing a plethora of tasks that require a specific skillset and being more apt sets your stories apart. This can make it more likely that you'll be hired. Journalism skills needed include news writing, interviewing, videography, editing, and more. Being naturally talented at any of these skills should be evident in the reel sent out with your news job apps.
Being a news anchor is also about being the face of the station and upholding the brand. Looking professional and maintaining that professional look while story telling is major! As a journalist you may be covering multiple stories a day which means talking to many people. A news anchor and journalist should dress comfortably as they are doing videography work, but they must always look or can be camera ready within minutes.
Lastly, if you know, or are known by many people this can make you desirable to news stations. As a news anchor, you'll need to cover countless stories so knowing a wide range of people is a positive attribute that can benefit your storytelling. News stations want anchors and journalist who have and can make lasting relationships with the community. As a news anchor already having a network of real people in the community can give you a leg up and make your stories stand out.
Amanda Porter working a news internship while in college.
If you are able to get a bachelors degree, work news internships, build a strong anchor/reporter reel and send out applications, you should be on your way to becoming a working television news anchor!